We first encountered Schlamm about a year ago via one of those random link-to-link-to-link internet moments and their stuff immediately tickled our fancy. British designed cyclo-cross specific clothing? Liking the sound of that. Of course it being the internet we'd forgotten about it by the next day and it was only the arrival of the 'cross season and cold weather this year that made us remember them.
Schlamm is headed by Simon Burney and Dan Ellmore. Dan has a 20 year history in custom clothing production and has been drawn into the performance side through special projects for major events, and if you're in any way serious about cyclo-cross you'll have heard of Simon. A former professional cyclocross racer Burney has spent over two decades managing both professional 'cross and mountainbike teams and written what is considered by some to be the Bible of cyclo-cross "Cyclo Cross Training and Technique". So hopefully between them they should know what they're doing. Add into the mix that Schlamm clothing is designed and tested in the Peak District and this should be clobber that shrugs off traditional cyclo-cross weather without so much as a whimper.
Oh, because you're itching to know, Schlamm is Swiss for mud.
Schlamm say they're the world’s first (and only) cyclocross specific clothing brand, something we can well believe as the sport has always been quite specialist, marginal and dare we even say it, niche. On the whole people just use their tatty road kit to ride in but as anyone that's witnessed the increasingly crowded field of a recent cross race will tell you, it's rapidly becoming a more mainstream Sunday pastime in the UK, and also really quite posh with more than a splattering of expensive wheeled exotica so it's only natural that a boutique clothing brand should follow in its sloppy tyre-tracks.
The Schlamm wardrobe includes items that are pretty cyclo-cross specific, or just useful only to those that race and train in the cooler months; bib-tights with zip off lower legs and straps and leg warmers with zips in, all designed so you can remove them without taking all your other kit off - a great idea for anyone that needs to warm up, er, warm and whip clothing off just before the gun goes, a range of wet and cold weather jackets, more general cycling friendly arm and leg-warmers, overshoes and more casual jackets, soft-shells, gillets, fleeces and t-shirts. And we really like the Race Pack, a shoe-bag full of all the things you need for a 'cross race; some number pins, embrocation, wash lotion and flannel mitt, Olbas Oil and Q Tips. water bottle, 2 gels, some studs and some toilet roll. And a spare clean pair of socks. Nice.
Schlamm says it's clothing is innovative, high-performance, uses the best fabrics and designed with genuinely useful details, and it looks good. To us it looks unapologetically race-ist, no bad thing although possibly aiming at a limited market, however that's something Schlamm don't seem to be afraid of as they proudly boast that "..if everyone liked our stuff we’d change it, quick. Given a choice between a few thousand wearing a generic jersey at an over-subscribed Gran Fondo, or keeping a handful warm at the start of a grimy Super Prestige ‘Cross, you know where our loyalties lie." A feisty mission statement indeed, and one we secretly quite like.
They conclude "When cyclocross becomes a religion, you need something to pray in.", and having wanted to sink to our knees more than once during a 'cross race we can only agree.
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.